Dr. Shirley Clinton, 84, pediatrician who helped found medical center

September 27, 2004|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Dr. Shirley Rex Clinton, a retired pediatrician who helped found a medical center and one of the nation's first minority-owned HMOs, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at Sinai Hospital. He was 84 and lived in West Baltimore.

Born and raised in Camden, N.J., he graduated from Glassboro State Teachers College in Glassboro, N.J., intending to become an educator.

After a brief teaching stint, he joined the Army Air Forces during World War II as an intelligence officer stationed in Louisville, Ky., where he helped desegregate the officers' club.

After returning from military service, he continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for graduate work and pre-med studies at Catholic University of America in Washington. He graduated from Howard University Medical School and began his pediatric practice in Baltimore in 1959.

"He always wanted to work with young people, but he didn't really want to be in the classroom," said his daughter, Shirene Mumby of Ellicott City. "He wanted to help young people in another way, and he liked newborns and bringing life into the world."

Dr. Clinton cultivated a successful practice for more than 30 years, serving on the medical staffs of Sinai and Johns Hopkins hospitals. He was one of the first African-American doctors to join Hopkins' hospital staff.

He helped found the Garwyn Medical Center in 1979 and the Monumental Health Plan, one of the nation's first black-owned health maintenance organizations. He also helped develop the Walbrook Shopping Center.

Dr. Clinton enjoyed travel -- especially his frequent trips to Africa and Russia -- and was an ardent fan of the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Colts and the Washington Bullets.

"He was a huge fan," Ms. Mumby said. "He never missed a game."

Dr. Clinton was a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Baltimore.

A funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. James Episcopal Church at Arlington Avenue and Fayette Street.

His wife of more than 40 years, the former Dorothy Cordery, died in 1997.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Clinton is survived by his son, Stannley Clinton of Baltimore; another daughter, Lenise Clinton of Baltimore; three sisters, Connie Clinton, Cleo Twine and Hazel Thompson, all of Philadelphia; and four grandchildren.

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